Thursday, December 13, 2007

No Words


Well if anyone doesn't know and has been living in a cave, there is a strike among writers in the television and movie industry right now. On Nov 1, the contract between the WGA (Writer's Guild of America) and the Sudios expired. The following week, the WGA went on strike. So, what's all the fuss? Well, currently, writers recieve a residual payment whenever a show or movie they wrote is shown in syndication (reruns) or purchased as a DVD. They do not, however, recieve a dime for any of their work which is streamed or downloaded off the internet. This is the central issue for which the writers are striking. They also want a higher DVD rate and they want to bring the Reality TV writers... (yes they do have "writers" for reality) and animation writers, who are currently covered by a different union, into the WGA juristiction. I believe these are relatively minor issues though and if a "good" internet deal was made, they'd have less support from their members to continue the strike.

So, why do I care? Well, some of you may know that I work in the entertainment industry and so this affects me directly so, I care. On December 10, I finished my last bit of work and have been out of work since. Up until then I had been working frantically to make as much money as I can to last as long as it can and hence, my blog has suffered. So, as I can attest, this strike affects many more than just the writers. Without writers, there is literally no work to be done at all. If anything it shows the value of writers in the television and film industries.

So, why start a strike right before Christmas? The DGA (Directors Guild of America) and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) have contracts which expire in June '08. The DGA tends to negotiate their contracts early to avoid work stoppages like these and they are much more diplomatic (meaning they'll settle for less than ideal) than the other two guilds. The WGA wanted to get a jump on them because the first deal struck will be the standard for the rest of the unions. If the DGA got a deal which was not as good as what the WGA wanted, it would be that much harder to negotiate.


The downside has been that the entire industry has been shut down and thousands of people are out of work, most of whom do not work as writers. The AMPTP (the collective negotiating arm of the Studios) appear to be ready to sacrifice the rest of the season to the reality hell of reality programming and the DGA may get to the table first anyway. This thing could last a while.


Deadline Hollywood Daily - Nikki Finke's blog. The most accurate accounting of the facts. She's definately on the side of the writers but she's the first to report insider strike information and it's always turned out to be legit.

As WGA strike continues, writers form online co-ops and some earn millions - This, in my opinion would be the best move for the writers to do. Take the market before the studios have a chance. "Some, ventures, such as Will Ferrell's FunnyorDie.com has seen one no-budget short top 50 million views. At the touted advertising rate of $60 per 1000 views for professional quality video, this would have earned the producers up to $3m, with no notable initial outlay." Yikes!

2 comments:

The man called Anne said...

OTHER people have a conflict and then YOU are out of your job? Man, that doesn't fit, where I come from. And if you hadn't told me in advance there might be strike - I wouldn't have known. Maybe it IS a cave where I live.
Anyway, so what is it you do right now? Do you need any help and can I offer some?

Jeremy Robinson said...

Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous. Not much you could do unless you have a job in Israel for me :P.